Thursday 21 April 2011

A Voice of reason Among the US Coineys: First a Citizen, and also a Coiney

Predictably self-appointed spokesman for all coin collectors, dugup dealer Dave Welsh, is attempting to host a discussion of the recent appeal court ruling over on his Unidroit-L coiney naysayer microforum. Interestingly the expected 'pitchfork and torches march on Washington' attitudes seem to have waned in the coiney community and Welsh's inflammatory posts on the topic has received just one reply so far. Maybe the milieu as a whole is waking up to the fact that they are not, after all, in the nineteenth century, and that coin collecting is functioning now in a totally different environment than it was a century or so ago.

The reply he got is interesting. Al Hickey writes that ACCG political rhetoric is not helpful to an understanding of the matters at issue in this case and seems to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of how the US government is organized and works and has become clouded by a loss of perspective. In particular the criticism of a court verdict in terms of what the government decrees fails to recognise the independence of the US judiciary of the executive branch of government (Hickey reminds coineys "There are three independent branches of government and under our Constitution they function each as to the others by well-known means within a system of checks and balances".) He goes on to remark that:
First, in the matter under consideration the government was merely one party to a civil action, an action in which each party stands equal before the law, and its position in the matter was understandable and reasonable. Second, by the very words of the Constitution (Art VI, Cl 2), our relations and agreements with foreign nations are among the most important functions of government. In that context, the administration's position and the court's ruling are both perfectly understandable. [...] As to the matter of import restrictions, I've said this before and will say it again, while I might personally lament the import restrictions, I do not believe that my love of ancient coins is more important than the many, many issues facing our country, including its standing and relations in the community of nations. Some seem to see the import restrictions as the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it, but I don't.
Let us be clear, these are import restrictions on coins illegally exported from other countries with which the US has a bilateral cultural property agreement.

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